Toronto FC: One high and another low against Colorado Rapids

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 09: Jozy Altidore
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 09: Jozy Altidore /

Toronto FC failed to use their momentum from the Champions League in a 2-0 loss against the Colorado Rapids in MLS play.

The same match was played about a month or two ago in Colorado. The only difference was that it was in the Champions League, which saw Toronto FC earn a huge advantage in the first leg of the tie.

However, MLS play has been dreadful for the Reds to say the least. This time, goals from Jack Price and Shkelzen Gashi sent TFC even further down the MLS table with another domestic defeat.

Clint Irwin surprisingly got the nod in this fixture, despite a heroic comeback in form for Alex Bono against Club America. Irwin couldn’t stop a curling shot from Price that was yards outside the box just a full two minutes into the contest.

Jordan Hamilton also started in what was a very shifted lineup for Greg Vanney’s side. Hamilton flew down the wing to send a cross towards Tosaint Ricketts minutes after the goal, that flew by the strikers head.

More from Toronto FC

There wasn’t much positional awareness within the box from Ricketts and the midfield, including Ben Spencer. Nobody was on the end of a rebound ball from a Hamilton cross, which could have been tucked in for the tying goal had someone been there.

The Rapids were too much for what really was the bench side of TFC. Kip Colvey sent in Dominique Badji, who put a move on new signing Jason Hernandez and fired a high-quality chance on goal.

Badji’s pace proved to be a huge problem for the back-line. The 25-year-old almost sent in what could have been a third goal as he blistered down the wing, only to send his chance go just wide of the far post.

A final dagger to the heart of TFC witnessed a 20-year-old Liam Fraser make an unnecessary challenge on Badji which drew a penalty. Gashi was the eventual penalty converter to make it 2-0, and win the game for the Rapids.

Key Stats

Toronto FC

  • 16 shots
  • 4 shots on target
  • 58 percent possession
  • Key Player: Jordan Hamilton looked good early on

Colorado Rapids

  • 17 shots
  • 7 shots on target
  • 19 fouls
  • Key Player: Badji was crucial down the wing for Colorado

TFC Subs: Michael Bradley, Ashtone Morgan, Eriq Zavaleta, Caleb Patterson-Sewell, Julian Dunn, Aidan Daniels

TFC Stats to Keep an Eye On (WhoScored)

  • Ager Aketxe stood out from the bench, as the Spaniard finished with seven shots and four key passes. The database had Aketxe as the Man of the Match by a mile, with a 7.54 rating offensively.
  • Jay Chapman may prove to be a solid rotational player for TFC in the future. The midfielder helped on offense and defense with the second-most shots, two tackles and three interceptions.
  • Aketxe had the highest pass accuracy among players who played the full 90 minutes, with an 89.3 percent rate. For those interested, the rate takes a huge dip after Aketxe, as Ricketts finished with exactly 80 percent accuracy.
  • Irwin, with five saves, finished with a 7.14 match rating. A lot of love is given for the veteran Toronto FC keeper.

Around MLS

  • New York Red Bulls 3-1 Montreal Impact
  • LA Galaxy 1-0 Chicago Fire
  • Portland Timbers 3-2 Minnesota United
  • San José 2-2 Houston Dynamo
  • D.C. United 1-0 Columbus Crew

An updated MLS table can be found here.

What’s next for the Reds?

TFC must feel really comfortable in a potential effort to come back in MLS, when starting a squad like this. The Champions League final is just two days away, but still, more regular talent could have been put in.

A lineup full of reserves and bench players has now resulted in TFC sitting second-bottom in the domestic table. It’s going to be a huge mountain to climb over the Red Bulls, who are sitting on nine points and occupying the last playoff space.

It’s a huge gamble to take domestically, especially if TFC doesn’t win the Champions League. However, risks need to be taken to claim more silverware and finish with the most successful year any North American squad has ever had.

Leg one against Chivas is on April 17, with an 8:15 p.m. kickoff time. Catch all of your TFC coverage right here on Tip of the Tower.

Next: TFC advance to the Champions League Final

How alarmed/concerned are you by TFC’s start to the regular season? Are they putting too much emphasis on the Champions League, or do you still expect the Reds to realistically compete for the MLS Cup, once that competition concludes? Share your thoughts in the comments below!